124 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE
Whence conies this burning, suffocating ardour?
Whence comes this strange, infernal, unearthly ardour?
I'll tear these monkish robes!
I'll bury all the Buddhist sutras;
I'll drown the wooden fish,
And leave all the monastic putras!
I'll leave the drums,
I'll leave the bells,
And the chants,
And the yells,
And all the interminable, exasperating, religious chatter!
I'll go downhill, and find me a young and handsome loveró
Let him scold me, beat me!
Kick or ill-treat me!
I will not become a buddha!
I will not mumble mita, panjra, para!
This brings us to the topic of the actual service of the
Buddhistic religion as an emotional outlet for the Chinese
people. First, it makes the seclusion of women not so complete
and more endurable. The desire of women to go to the temple,
as against the lesser desire of men to do the same, is as much
due to their emotional need for going outdoors as to the usual
greater "religiosity" of women. The first and fifteenth days
of a month and the festive occasions are days actually an-
ticipated for weeks ahead by women in their secluded chambers.
Secondly, its spring pilgrimages provide legitimate outlet
for the very much atrophied Chinese Wanderlust. These
pilgrimages come in early spring, and coincide with Easter.
Those who cannot go far away at least may go to weep on the
relatives' graves on cKingming day, which has the same emotional
basis. Those who can, put on sandals or go in sedan chairs to
the famous temples. Some people in Amoy still persist in
sailing about five hundred miles on old sailing junks to the
Pootoo Islands off the coast of Ningpo every spring. In the
North, the annual pilgrimage to Miaofengshan is still a pre-
vailing custom. Thousands of pilgrims, old and young, men
and women, may be seen on the trail carrying sticks and yellow
bags, travelling nights and days to the sacred temple. Among